How To Conquer Your Chihuahua’s Separation Anxiety, Sound Anxiety or Travel Anxiety
If your chihuahua is experiencing anxiety, life can be miserable both for you and your pup. I myself spent 2 years battling extreme separation anxiety with my dog, and we successfully came out on the other side. In this article I’ll share some of the resources and strategies that worked for us.
There are many forms of anxiety that your chihuahua may be suffering from. Typical causes of anxiety in chihuahua’s might be:
- Separation anxiety – Fear of being separated from their owner. This often manifests itself by your chihuahua pacing, drooling, biting, or being destructive while you’re away.
- Sound anxiety – Fear of loud noises like thunder, fireworks, or a vacuum cleaner
- Travel anxiety – Fear of traveling in a moving vehicle, or fear of intimidating places like your vet’s office or a boarding kennel
1. Experiment with Hemp Oil for Your Chihuahua’s Anxiety
One of the tools I successfully used in treating my dog’s anxiety was Hemp. While your results may vary, approximately 67% of the dog owners polled here claimed that Hemp was ‘extremely effective’ or ‘somewhat effective’ in helping their dog’s anxiety.
In my experience, Hemp helped my dog calm down enough to respond positively to the other training methods I was using to treat her anxiety. When choosing a Hemp oil, always look for a certificate of analysis showing a pure and safe product. I’d also recommend a product with 0% THC.
If you’d rather not give an hemp oil tincture to your dog, there are also great full spectrum hemp treat options available for dogs on Amazon.
2. Desensitize Your Chihuahua to The Cause of Their Anxiety
A key strategy for treating your Chihuahua’s anxiety is desensitizing them to the trigger of their fear. For example, my dog’s anxiety was triggered anytime I walked out the door to leave the house. For other dogs, the trigger might be you grabbing your keys or putting on your coat.
Begin by doing the trigger activity, but then immediately reversing it. For example, I would grab my keys and walk out the door. Then I’d come back 5 seconds later. I did this literally hundreds of times over a period of a week. Eventually, my dog was desensitized and bored by the behavior.
3. For Sound Anxiety, Trying Isolating Your Chihuahua and Playing Loud Music
Many Chihuahua’s that suffer from thunderstorm or fireworks anxiety experience relief in a smaller, more isolated room of the house where music can be played at a loud volume.
A word of caution though, if your dog is also experiences separation anxiety leaving them alone in a room during may be counterproductive.
4. Try Using a Compression Wrap (Available in Many Sizes and Will Fit Your Chihuahua)
Many dogs are comforted by the feeling of compression across their body. One popular product many have found success with is the Thundershirt (available on Amazon). The product applies gentle, calming pressure that is very reassuring to many pups. The company claims the product to be helpful for about 80% of the dogs who tried it. It can be used to help calm your australian shepherd during fireworks, thunder, separation, travel, or vet visits, with no training and no medication required.
4. Try an Herbal Supplement for Your Chihuahua with Calming Herbs Like Chamomile, Passion Flower, Ginger Root or Valerian Root
Many calming supplements exist for dogs that are palatable for dogs, easy-to-feed, and can help quickly relieve your australian shepherd’s stress and give a sense of safety and calm. Some supplements contain calming herbs like chamomile, passion flower, ginger root, and valerian root are a great option. Some products, such as this bacon flavored soft chew for dogs, contain all of the calming herbs in one. This calming chew is also available on Amazon.
5. Experiment with a Pheromone Diffuser for Your Chihuahua
Canine pheromone diffusers mimic the calming pheromone that a mother dog emits while nursing her puppies. The diffuser can help many dogs feel calmer and more comfortable in stressful situations.
The same company that makes the Thundershirt above also makes a product called ThunderEase diffuser, which is also available on Amazon.
6. Try an Anti-Anxiety Supplement Containing L-Tryptophan, L-Theanine or Melatonin
Other popular ingredients in anti-anxiety supplements include the amino acids L-Tryptophan and L-Theanine, both of which offer calming properties and increase the release of “feel good” serotonin in your dog’s body. In addition, some calming products for dogs contain a small amount of melatonin, which can help regulate and improve their sleep. All these of these ingredients are available in some chews such as this. This calming chew is also available on Amazon.
7. Experiment with Using Your Own Scent & Sound to Calm Your Chihuahua
In my experience, using your own scent and sound to help calm your dog is a powerful strategy in beating anxiety. I stumbled upon this one day with my own dog by accident.
Typically, if I left the home my dog would instantly enter a panic. But one day I needed to take a long phone call, and left my dog outside my bedroom door where I took the call. During the call, she calmly lied next to the door, where she could obviously smell and hear me. It occurred to me that I could possibly mimic this tactic while I wasn’t at home.
I recorded my voice on a CD player and then put it on loop. Then I placed a used t-shirt on the inside of the door where she could easily smell it underneath. To my surprise, I was able to leave the house for a short time. (I monitored her on a video camera). I slowly increased the length of time I left, and always found her calm and sincerely believing that I was just behind the door!
If you’d like to read the full story of how I cured my dog’s extreme separation anxiety, go here.
Another great product to help calm your dog is the Comfort Cuddler Buddy. You can stuff the cozy fleece man with your clothing or pillow case with your scent, and leave with your dog.
Lastly, another popular calming product is the heartbeat puppy toy. Traditionally, these have been used to help calm puppies who recently left their litter. The plush toys come with a warming features as well as a simulated heartbeat. While originally intended for puppies, many dog owners have found they can effectively calm dogs of all ages. This popular model is available on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Chihuahuas are prone to separation anxiety, making them nervous pups. You may already know the symptoms if your dog makes tons of noise, is destructive, has accidents, or other issues. Now it’s time to learn how to handle your dog’s anxiety so you and she can have a more relaxed life. Get answers to your questions and start enjoying a less anxious life.
How Can I Help My Chihuahua With Separation Anxiety?
While your Chihuahua may have separation anxiety, you can try a few methods to mitigate these frustrating issues:
Gradually increase alone time – Start by leaving your Chihuahua alone for a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the duration of time you are gone. This will help your dog learn that you will come back and build their confidence.
Create a safe space: Designate an area in your home where your Chihuahua can retreat when feeling anxious. Provide comfortable bedding, toys, and familiar scents to make the space feel secure and calming.
Practice positive reinforcement: Reward your Chihuahua for good behavior when you leave and return home. Treats, praise, and affection can help reinforce positive associations with alone time.
Exercise and mental stimulation: Make sure your Chihuahua gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day to help reduce anxiety. Activities such as puzzle toys, interactive games, and walks can help keep your dog stimulated and calm.
Seek professional help: If your Chihuahua’s separation anxiety is severe, you may want to consider seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They can help you develop a personalized plan to help your dog overcome their anxiety and improve their overall well-being.
Is Separation Anxiety Common In Chihuahuas?
Yes, separation anxiety is a common issue in Chihuahuas, as it is in many other breeds of dogs. Chihuahuas are known for their strong attachment to their owners and their tendency to become anxious or fearful when they are left alone for long periods. Additionally, they are very small dogs, which can make them feel vulnerable and anxious in new or unfamiliar environments. This, combined with their strong attachment to their owners, can make them more prone to separation anxiety.
How Do I Know If My Chihuahua Has Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety comes with some common symptoms in dogs. Here are some signs that your Chihuahua may be experiencing separation anxiety:
Excessive barking or howling
Inappropriate urination or defecation
Attempts to escape
Pacing or restlessness
Loss of appetite
Are Chihuahuas High Anxiety Dogs?
Chihuahuas are sadly prone to high anxiety for several reasons. Do not get a Chihuahua if you want an aloof and low-maintenance dog, as this breed will drive you insane. Some factors contribute to their anxiety, such as genetic predisposition, socialization experiences, and their living environment.
Again their tiny size makes them more apt to experience anxiety as the world and everyone in it are so much larger than them. Additionally, Chihuahuas can be sensitive to loud noises, new environments, and changes in routine, which can contribute to anxiety and fearfulness. Finally, a Chihuahua’s living environment can also affect their anxiety levels as they do not handle stress or chaos well.
What Triggers Separation Anxiety In Chihuahuas?
You can expect a few triggers to induce separation anxiety in your Chihuahua, including:
Lack of socialization
Over-attachment to their owner
Changes in routine
Trauma or negative experiences
Lack of exercise or stimulation
How Do You Discipline A Chihuahua With Separation Anxiety?
Avoid disciplining a Chihuahua with separation anxiety, as it will exacerbate the situation. Instead, address the root cause of the anxiety to reduce their stress factors. Here are some methods to manage separation anxiety without discipline:
Positive reinforcement training
Address any underlying medical issues
Seek professional help
Are Chihuahuas Ok To Be Left Alone?
You can leave your Chihuahua home alone for short periods of time, but they should not be left alone for extended periods. As a social breed, Chihuahuas enjoy being around their people and can become anxious or stressed when left alone for too long. Additionally, Chihuahuas are a small breed and can be at risk for injury or accidents if left alone in an unsafe environment.
The amount of time that a Chihuahua can be left alone will vary based on the individual dog and their age, health, and temperament. Generally, adult Chihuahuas can be left alone for 4-6 hours at a time, while puppies and senior dogs may require more frequent potty breaks and attention. Hiring a dog sitter or dog walker, taking your Chihuahua to a doggy daycare, or having a trusted friend or family member check on your Chihuahua while you are away can help them to stay calm.
Do Chihuahuas Eventually Get Over Separation Anxiety?
With proper treatment and management, many Chihuahuas can improve their separation anxiety over time. However, there is no “quick fix” for separation anxiety, and it may take time and patience to see improvements. Treatment for separation anxiety in Chihuahuas typically involves a combination of behavior modification and medication, depending on the severity of the anxiety.
Medications such as anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed by a veterinarian to help reduce anxiety and improve behavior. However, medications should always be used in conjunction with behavior modification and should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian. Consider trying Cannanine Anxiety treats for dogs to help them relax with natural ingredients like CBD.
Why Are Chihuahuas So Emotional?
Chihuahuas are emotional as part of their nature. Just like some humans are expressive and show the world their emotions, your pup can too. Further, Chihuahuas were bred as companion dogs, which means they have a strong bond with their human families. This contributes to their emotional nature, as they are highly attuned to their owner’s emotions and moods.
Should Chihuahuas Sleep With You?
Whether or not a Chihuahua should sleep with you depends on your personal preference. Many people prefer not to have any pets in bed, while others expect their pets to snuggle up for good dreams. If you are a restless sleeper or your Chihuahua snores, have them sleep in their dog bed in the living room. Other people simply do not want their dog’s germs and bacteria transferring to their bedding.
If your Chihuahua is a small or young puppy, snuggling up for the night might pose a risk to their safety in the form of injury or suffocation. For those who do choose to keep their pup in bed, establish boundaries and rules to prevent behavioral issues or discomfort. They may be cute, but do not let them take over your bed and reduce the quality of your sleep.
Why Does My Chihuahua Cry When I Leave?
Your Chihuahua may cry when you leave because they are experiencing separation anxiety. They do not want to be alone in a big scary house all by themselves. Think about it, even if you have a cat, it’s probably bigger than your Chihuahua and likely to cause fights instead of offering to snuggle.
Additionally, Chihuahuas cry when left alone because they feel anxious and stressed without their owner’s company. To help, gradually increase the time you spend away from them, provide toys and treats for stimulation, and consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter. Another dog of similar size can be of great comfort to your little pooch.
Consider leaving the radio or tv on to keep them company and at least allow some soothing noise into their life. Also, give them a place outside where they can use the bathroom as needed and a place to stay cool and dry. If none of these suggestions work, consider visiting your veterinarian to see what options they have available to treat high anxiety.